Labrador Retriever - BathingAs a breed developed to be in the water often (originally to retrieve fish and birds from very cold water), Labs have an oily coat. Their skin produces these oils to keep the coat waterproof, so the dog is protected from the cold. The oils in the Lab’s skin that help produce the shiny coat can also cause some problems, though. When those oils mix with dirt, they can cause the dog to smell. Most people refer to this as a “doggy smell,” and that it is, but you don’t have to live with it. So, depending upon your Labrador Retriever’s living environment and his work and play habits, you may wish to bathe him once a week or once a month.
When choosing a shampoo, ask your veterinarian or a dog groomer for recommendations. There are many shampoos on the market. When you buy the shampoo, read the label carefully. Some shampoos are made to be diluted in water, a capful or half a cup to a gallon of water. Other shampoos are formulated to use as is. Other shampoos, especially those formulated to kill fleas or ticks, must remain on the dog for two to five minutes before being rinsed off. To make sure you use the shampoo correctly, read the entire label. Don’t use shampoos made for people; these are much too harsh and will dry out your Lab’s skin and coat.

New Products in the Fight Against Fleas
At one time, battling fleas meant exposing your dog and your¬self to toxic dips, sprays, powders, and collars. But today there are flea preventives that work very well and are safe for your dog, you, and the environment. The two most common types are insect growth regulators (IGRs), which stop the immature flea from developing or maturing, and adult flea killers. To deal with an active infestation, experts usually recommend a prod¬uct that has both.
These next-generation flea fighters generally come in one of two forms:
Topical treatments or spot-ons. These products are applied to the skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The product is absorbed through the skin into the dog’s system. Among the most widely available spot-ons are Advantage (kills adult fleas and larvae), Revolution (kills adult fleas), Frontline Plus (kills adult fleas and larvae, plus an IGR), K-9 Advantix (kills adult fleas and larvae), and BioSpot (kills adult fleas and larvae, plus an IGR).
Systemic products. This is a pill your dog swallows that transmits a chemical throughout the dog’s bloodstream. When a flea bites the dog, it picks up this chemical, which then prevents the flea’s eggs from developing. Among the most widely available systemic products are Program (kills larvae only, plus an IGR) and Capstar (kills adult fleas).
Make sure you read all the labels and apply the products exactly as recommended, and that you check to make sure they are safe for puppies.

You can bathe your dog outside if the weather is warm and the water from your hose isn’t too cold, or you can bathe him in the bathtub. Either way, change into old clothes (you will get wet!) and leash your dog. Put a cotton ball in each of his ears so you don’t get water in them. Make sure he is thoroughly brushed first, then use the hose or shower to get him entirely wet. It can be hard sometimes to wet the dog clear to the skin – that wonderful double coat repels water well.
Once your Lab is wet, put some shampoo on your hands and start working it into the coat, starting at the head and ears and working down the neck. Be care¬ful not to get soap in his eyes. Continue until the dog is covered with shampoo. Don’t forget his legs, tummy, groin, and tail. Start rinsing in the same way, starting at his head and working down the body. Rinse thoroughly – any soap left on his body could make him itchy and may even cause a rash.
Once your Lab is thoroughly rinsed, let him shake off the excess water. Then, before you towel him off, go get your canister vacuum. Put the hose on the air exit port so the vacuum is blowing air instead of sucking air, and use that airstream to blow the excess water off your dog. Now towel dry him and, if you wish, use your blow-dryer to finish drying him. Just remember blow-dryers can get very hot, so be careful not to burn him with it. Never use the hottest setting.


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